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Fire (by Rob [MA]) Jun 9, 2019 7:34 PM
       Fire (by Rob [MA]) Jun 9, 2019 7:35 PM
       Fire (by GKARL [PA]) Jun 9, 2019 7:48 PM
       Fire (by Robert J [CA]) Jun 9, 2019 8:02 PM
       Fire (by Steve [MA]) Jun 9, 2019 8:35 PM
       Fire (by #22 [MO]) Jun 9, 2019 9:09 PM
       Fire (by plenty [MO]) Jun 9, 2019 9:57 PM
       Fire (by plenty [MO]) Jun 9, 2019 9:58 PM
       Fire (by Robin [WI]) Jun 9, 2019 10:32 PM
       Fire (by small potatoes [NY]) Jun 9, 2019 11:36 PM
       Fire (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 10, 2019 1:37 AM
       Fire (by Still Learning [NH]) Jun 10, 2019 3:47 PM
       Fire (by Rob [MA]) Jun 11, 2019 5:31 AM

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Fire (by Rob [MA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 7:34 PM

Hello All!

2nd floor kitchen fire in a 2 unit building today. I'm spent. Water, gas, elec were all cut off and building was condemned. Damage in unit was limited to kitchen but the upgrade of ordnance may be the 900lb gorilla in the room. Positive not got rid of the drug dealing tenants. Easiest eviction yet.

Meeting building inspector tomorrow for his list ect.

Fire (by Rob [MA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 7:35 PM

Sorry positive note*

Fire (by GKARL [PA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 7:48 PM

Had this happen about this time last year in my rooming house. The fire department tried to bill me and I had code inspectors all over the place. One of the things this made me do is tighten up on screening. The tenant who caused this put some pork chops on the stove and went back in his room drinking. I threw them out the next day.

Fire (by Robert J [CA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 8:02 PM

This happened to two units in an 8 unit building. A tenant left candles burning on top of a wooden dresser and said to her daughter keep an eye on it. She watched the candles burn down a bedroom, hallway and kitchen.

As a contractor I told my insurance company I will accept $100,000 and do the work myself. They turned around and said they would deduct 20% because of the deductible and it's going to be a cash settlement.

So I then hired a public adjuster who got estimates from the best and most expensive local contractors who had a good history working with my insurance company. The total bids came in at $328,000. Then my insurance company offered to pay me my 100 grand. I turned it down and allowed the public adjuster and his crew to deal with the repairs..... --47.156.xx.xx

Fire (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 8:35 PM

Rob, sorry to hear this. It can be extremely stressful.

Having lost 4 buildings to fire. I suggest that you make sure the building is secure for the night. If possible do this yourself otherwise you'll pay a small fortune for one of the board up companies to do it. When they tell you don't worry your insurance company will pay for it, they're leaving out the part about it coming out of your settlement.

Most of theses companies charge at least $75.00 per manhour & $50.00 plus per sheet of plywood.

You should contact your insurance agent ASAP. DO NOT sign up with anyone who offers to handle your board up or represent you in your claim. I'm sure that you will end up hiring a public adjuster to handle your claim but you don't have to rush into it today. I've used one for each of my fires.

DO NOT do any cleanup except for the debris that is on public land. You want things to look the worse possible while your settling your claim. Take lots of pictures to document the conditions.

Do not worry about any of the tenant's stuff. Their own insurance (if they have it) will cover it. The Red Cross sometimes helps them with hotel, clothing, meal, etc vouchers. You are only responsible for up to $750.00 of reimbursement for each unit's relocation. This is a MA requirement & should be covered by your insurance company. You only have to give the tenants the name of your agent.

If the tenants have to move out, DO NOT refund any of their rent or SD funds unless you get them to sign something stating that they have removed all of their belongings & they do not want what's left behind. If they leave a lot of stuff behind you can ding their SD.

If you carry business disruption aka loss of rent insurance, you will eventually receive a portion of the normal rent during the rehab process.

Hopefully you'll be able to turn this lemon into some nice lemonade. --96.237.xx.xx

Fire (by #22 [MO]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 9:09 PM

Got insurance? Hope so... it pays well.... here's my notes from a fire a few years ago:


Fire @ rental

Draft 5

Confirm and ensure the welfare of the occupants.

Consider charities / other sources for assistance: Catholic charities, united way

Consider instructing tenants to only provide contact info to police and fire department.

Call the insurance company. Tell them to email you with a contact number and not to call you directly

Don't answer unknown calls.

Many people were calling offering environmental / clean up services as well as public adjusters looking for the job. Two of them waited for around 5 hours at the fire for me to get to the home.

If you enter the home, proceed with extreme caution. Subfloors may be compromised, overhead hazzards may be present. If you go on the roof, use the same care and caution.

Boarding up the home:

Secure the unit ASAP.

Measure up the windows and bring the measurements to depot/lowes and have them cut the boards

Consider painting boards to match the color of the exterior to minimize blight

Bring a REAL camera. Don't try and use the one on your cell phone. - it just isn't as capable.

A video camera would be good too.

Take a lot of pictures, especially of ALL electrical appliances (may be the cause). (suggested by attorney - often electrical devices are the cause)

The utilities should be turned off, by their respective companies. Verify this to be safe.The fire department ordered a shutoff due to the fire.

As a result, electric tools are worthless. Bring the battery powered ones (with a full charge) to assist in securing the home.

If you have a generator, it may be wise to bring it. Do not run the generator in the house - it puts off CO.

Bring a lockbox. Change the locks, install the lockbox for contractor / insurance adjuster access.

Use insulation in a can / great stuff to seal gaps where needed.

Best lighting option: bring a halogen light and long extension cord. Ask a neighbor if you can use their outlet (hopefully they have an exterior one).

Boarding up:

Use 2 types of screws: star and phillips to confuse would-be thugs from gaining entry.

You can board from the inside or out. If on the outside, take care to not steer rain water into the home

Consider disconnecting the A/C if in a high risk area.


Why did they have to bust out so many windows? (answer - to let out the smoke and see the inside of the home)

Rear door totally wasted.

It's really dark inside

Don't disturb the suspected areas where the fire may have begun.

Why did the fire department allow people (tenants) back in there after the fire?

Be prepared to remove guttering. We had damage to one, which would've dumped water right on a boarded up window. Removed the whole piece of guttering with a monkey bar.


Monkey bar

Cordless drill, cordless circular saw

Phillips and star bits

monkey bar

phillips screwdriver




broom and dustpan for glass cleanup

trash cans

paint roller / brush

Materials (as needed):

contractor bags


phillips and star screws

new locks

great stuff


caution tape

paint - close match to exterior (for boarded up windows)

paper / anything to cover up windows not boarded up (for privacy purposes)

Call all utilities to shut them down or confirm they're off.

Tenants lie. If on a weekend, hold tight before proceeding with anything until you speak to the fire department to gain information about the fire. They said "cause unknown, the fd needs to investigate on monday. Called fd on monday and they said, "we don't need to investigate, it was an accidental kitchen fire."

-------------------------------moving forward----------------

Disconnect all electrical circuits except for any that run a foot or two from the electric box. Have two installed if there are none present. This should help accelerate the process of getting electricity back on at the home.

Tenant recieved the following support (partial list)

Red cross $130 debit card

Also paid for hotel @ $65 x 3

Red Cross also offered to fund $400 towards deposit for new residence

The school also provided financial assistance

United way offered referrals to local agencies, but no direct help

Referred tenant to contact catholic charities - known for being helpful


Part 2 - no specific order

2 Big errors made:

Missed a spot where water accumulated in the basement (in a pile of clothes and junk that hid it very well) and is causing mildew issues

WAS NOT PRESENT FOR AN ELECTRIC TURN ON. This was major. The inspector, a former firefighter and totally unqualified in this role, was convinced that smoke traveled DOWN the stairs, into the basement, forward 8 feet and then made a 90 degree turn to the right, then went forward 10 more feet before turning right again and then traveled another 8 feet or so to get to the electric panel. The door on the panel was closed during the fire AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE OF SMOKE DAMAGE IN THE BASEMENT WHATSOEVER. He's condemned all of the breakers, including the 200 amp main, because he's too stupid to know that all breakers, new or used, look dusty. They come new off the shelf looking dirty and dusty. Because of his total stupidity, he's making me replace every single breaker in the box and further delaying electric service and dehumidifying to the home.

Lesson - schedule the inspection and be there. My situation had him "dropping in" and I missed him.

Also, should've immediately ordered a rolloff dumpster at 0 hrs after the fire and started demo on the spot, especially the water soaked areas. Perhaps a lease provision would make sense, allowing landlord to dispose of damaged property within 5-6 hours of a major fire. At 0 hours, a plan needs to be put in place to get the electric back on asap to run fans and dehumidifiers. This is equally important to the dumpster to prevent mold/mildew, etc.

All exit strategies back on the table. Selling the home may be impossible, as REOs are better deals than a cheap smoke damaged home.

1. Donate to Habitat

2. Donate to church

3. Donate to 1 or 2 w/ a small cash donation

4. Give away

5. Strip down and demo, sell the lot

6. Push it at a REIA

7. Promote it at the LL conference in STL

8. Rehab it - could be done easily if local, but not

9. MLS it and hope for minimal net

Get a copy of the fire report

Get a payoff for the existing loan - optional. I sent in funds in excess of the balance to pay it off and will get a reund back. A payoff can cost $25-50 - a rip off.

Fill out ins co docs asap to get claim closed out asap.

Have tenant sign permission to remove and dispose of stuff

Have them sign a liability release when returning their security deposit


6/8 added

Cancel insurance on the structure, depending on your exit strategy, keep liability

Cancel prepaid utilities - trash, etc and get refund

Process ins. paperwork ASAP, get loan paid off ASAP as to not waste interest expense.

I got 3 months of lost rent.. huh? Thanks, never saw it coming!

I also got rent for may from section 8 (thanks) and the insurance company (thanks!)

the lawn still needs to be mowed


6/20 added:

Sold the fire damaged home to plumbers for labor and 4 quarters. Created a great win-win deal.

The plumbers couldn't believe the deal they were getting.

More reflections:

Post fire, spent about 1k in labor and debris haul off fees. Debateable whether this was good use of funds, I think it was in hindsight. It put a little lipstick on the house, demoed out and removed a lot of the damage at the source of the fire, which made the rehab project less intimidating to the new buyer. I would again remove the debris, but I would use a more economical approach - getting a rolloff dumpster vs. a paid hauler from craigslist. The tenant left 90% of their possessions, mostly salvageable in the home.

Now that ownership has changed, collecting the money held hostage by the city will be hopefully the last piece of the puzzle.

Fire (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 9:57 PM

Wow Sid that's impressive! I am bvb wondering why you referred to this as an eviction? Was an eviction going on thru the court system or you saying they had to leave because of the fire?

Fire (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 9:58 PM

Wow #22 that's impressive! I am bvb wondering why you referred to this as an eviction? Was an eviction going on thru the court system or you saying they had to leave because of the fire? ( sorry #22 i gave credit for your list incorrectly))

Fire (by Robin [WI]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 10:32 PM

#22, I've saved your list for future reference. Never would have thought about a fireman acting as electrical inspector. Hopefully I'll never have to use it!

Fire (by small potatoes [NY]) Posted on: Jun 9, 2019 11:36 PM

If you think that you will not walk away or that doing some demo will help you get a better price then do not wait for the insurance inspection to begin ripping out wet drywall. My insurance company said go ahead and get started. You will need a couple of floor blowers to get air moving and dry things out. Be careful not to rip out more exterior wall than necessary because you will be required to update the insulation. In NY I had to get to R20. If the interior walls are down to the studs then re-wiring electric is not as expensive as you think. Added cost is hardwired smoke n CO detectors. Where I didn't have to rip out walls it was easiest to go over them w/ more drywall, but first I sprayed them w/ fire sealing paint.

By me the electrical inspector is one guys company and he owns or has the rights to a large territory. If the downstairs unit's wiring has no fire damage then you might be able to expedite turning on service there. Don't know if you are in an area where the utility Co would permit a temp exterior jobsite panel.

Do not sign a contract with an adjuster right away (or at all perhaps). My fire exceeded the buildings cash policy value and I got every penny. Also you can have the insurance co adjuster inspect and then show that to an ambulance chaser adjuster and see if they still claim they can get you more money. As soon as the insurance company knows you are w/ an adjuster company they will be defensive. Plus when you sign a contract you transfer your rights to the adjuster and have no voice in the following conversation.

It is a very tough and emotionally draining experience. The water from putting out the fire did more damage than the fire. It took me over a year to get all 3 units back in service. It wasn't in my mindset to walk away and I would of had grant money to give back. If the roof was compromised it would have been the nail in the coffin. Hope yours is intact. Good luck with the process.


Fire (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2019 1:37 AM

Do not touch anything until the inspections are complete:

-fire marshall

-your ins inspector

-resí renter ins inspector


Remember the adjustor works for the ins company and job #1 is to keep the claim low. They are NOT your friend.

Read your policy and KNOW what it covers, like boarding up, furniture removal, dumpsters, landscaping, reroofing because tje heat damaged the shingles, appliances, loss of rents, utils during repairs...


Fire (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Jun 10, 2019 3:47 PM

Had a personal house burn down. Best decision we ever made was to call the public adjuster. I know he works in MA too. His name is Michael Creed with Professional Loss Adjusters, Inc. The MA landlord group I attend also recommends Len Theran from that same group.

Fire (by Rob [MA]) Posted on: Jun 11, 2019 5:31 AM

Thanks everyone. The imput is always appreciated.

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